This little guy is getting to be a regular visitor to our yard. We have not had this bird variety in our yard during the nine years we have lived here. It’s a good thing I keep a handbook on birds close at hand. I was particularly taken by the common name for this bird, a Brown Thrasher. It makes me think of how the mind finds itself “thrashing” about at various points during life.
It seems that whenever I find myself with choices that are poles apart, I end up squirming and thrashing around for a good time while holding the tension of “not choosing” so that I can allow other possibilities to emerge. It never fails, other options do emerge, ones that are not found at either pole. I will give a somewhat simple example of how this works for me.
I found myself seemingly caught between a black and white set of choices such as when in my work a school administrator, I had the choice of giving up administration to remain in the same school to continue teaching, or to seek another school administrator position in another school, or retire. I struggled with these choices for quite a while, for months when I realised that I needed to do something different if I was to get a different result in my life. As the weeks, then months passed, I was tending towards retirement though I was still rather young. I didn’t want to move again as this community had become home for both my wife and myself.
While reading through a newspaper, my wife saw ads seeking education administrators on northern reserves. Life on a reserve for an outsider is temporary. Without status as a First Nations, status within the tribe, one is always “just visiting.” If I took a northern position I would keep my home outside of the reserve. It seemed I could keep all of the choices at the same time – I retired, I got a new job, and I kept my home. When all of the pieces came together I finally made the decision to retire and prepare for the next stage.
We all face small situations (and not so small) which could use a bit of wait time before we make a choice. Of course there are many decisions we need to make that must be immediate and leave us living with the choice made. When we fail to make a decision, a decision will be made for us making our discomfort and thrashing around pointless, leaving us feeling like a victim without being aware that we placed ourselves in the role of victim. There is a difference between holding the tension and not deciding for ourselves. Holding the tension is to invest time and energy and to stay present with the choices and the situation requiring a choice. Removing oneself from choice is an act of abandoning, even denying the need to do something, dissociating.